I have had the most splendid weekend in Glastonbury joining together with other’s for the second Hekate Symposium. Having thoroughly enjoyed all the goings-on of 2012, I was eagerly anticipating this year’s and was not disappointed in the slightest!
Changing down to a single-day event, Saturday got off to an early start with helping to set up for attendees and stall holders as well as some time to mingle, catching up with old friends, as well as to get to know people who were until that point acquaintances on Facebook. I also quite enjoyed the change of venue, enjoying the larger space and the stage element for the speakers and Hekate Shrine.
Once everyone was settled it was time to begin and the day’s events kicked off with a Blessing Ceremony conducted by “Guest of Honour” (at least in my book!) author, artist and priest Georgi Mischev of the Bulgarian group Threskeia.
Whilst Sorita d’Este reading translation of the various parts, Georgi conducted a powerful and meaningful Blessing that no language barrier could get in the way of. The sheer transformation between him as a very friendly and warm soul in person, to the devoted and commanding presence he exuded in his capacity as priest was breath-taking!
And so with Hekate’s gaze and blessing now firmly upon us, David Rankine – Master of Ceremony – introduced the first speaker of the event to the stage. Up first was Sophia Kirke and her talk “Circe, lover and sorceress”. Delving into Circe’s origins, Sophia lead us in a captivating recount of elements of the tale of Odysseus. There were many parallels drawn with the dark/light, kill/cure aspect surrounding the topic of pharmaka and the fabled Mole flower, with links to sympathetic magic. To finish, we were all lead on a short transformational path-working which I personally found reflected some of the changes I have gone through recently in myself.
After a short break we returned to the much anticipated “Hekate: Genesis” performance led by Emily Carding and So Potent Arts. This Hekatean-Shakespearean mash-up was fascinating and captivating. The high quality of the performance and the sheer originality of the piece lead to raucous applause – and rightly so!
This lead nicely into the lunch break which enabled some more socialising, some time browse the stalls and dash onto the high street to make purchases. Once we were all back in our seats, eagerly awaiting the next talk, Hazel lead us in her talk “Oceanic Hecate: An exploration of Hecate’s water depths”.
I found this fascinating and it echoed some of the watery themes that had already cropped up in Sophia’s talk on Circe. Having dealt with a lot of emotional changes in the last twelve months, I was interested to see how Hekate’s lesser known/explored ocean aspect reflected in areas of my life. There was a lot of talk around “going with the flow”, “never fear, fight or suppress emotions” as well as the liminality of the beach and deep, emotional healing – all things I could relate to.
Next up was “The Goddess Hekate and the Wheel of the Year” by Amelia Ounsted. Looking at Hekate from both a historical point of view as well as a Wiccan one (that did not attribute the stereotype of the Crone to her). I liked the “intellectual puzzle” description of Amelia’s process and journey through exploring Hekate and the Wheel; her encounters with different aspects of the Goddess, such as “child” and “sexy” Hekate and how it deepened her understanding of Soteira as “the life force that infuses, changes and resides within us.”
Following another break, we settled down to listen to Georgi Mischev speak on “The Four Faced Hekate”. The basis for his second book, he discussed polycephalic deities amidst the peoples of Europe, Asia, the Americas and Africa. The connections between ritual masks and multi-faced, single deities such as Hermes, Dionysos, Janus and of course, Hekate. He also explained the development of the Sun-God from a monda (singular) into a tetrad (four) and the face that Hekate is “one goddess with a multiplied image”. There was so much fascinating information coming from Georgi that I couldn’t quite scribble fast enough AND listen at the same time, so I for one am very much looking forward to his book on the subject!
After a few questions directed towards Georgi’s talk, Sorita d’Este took to the stage to begin her talk “Hekate, Illuminating the Mysteries, Shattering Illusions”. Swapping her planned academic talk for a personal exploration of her work with Hekate, she lead us on the tale of her somewhat complex route. This sense of personal insight and sharing was a very fitting way to sum up the end of the day’s main talks as I had felt a great sense of unity and community in all those present – much more so than the previous year.
With a last look around the stalls, the hall was vacated to allow for the evening’s preparations and last minute tweaking/planning for the Closing Ceremony. Reconvening for 8pm, Orryelle Defenestrate-Bascule and Friends performed Oryelle’s “Liber Qoph vel Hekate”, a lunar adoration written as counterpoint to Crowley’s solar adoration “Liber Resh vel Helios”. With Emily Carding, Aria Amarosa and Su Real dancing/performing, Orryelle led us with violin and voice, accompanied by Andrea Kundry on gong and gamelan. It was a very energetic lead up to the evening’s ritual closing ritual; intense and original and something that I very much enjoyed it.
And so, we came to the end of the day with the Closing Ceremony, presided over by Sorita with myself, my friend Robert, Georgi, Sophia, Hazel, Lezley, Andrea and Amelia taking part as the ritual team. The ritual itself again amplified and brought home the huge sense of community from the day’s events. After blessing, purification and greeting the Elements we all chanted together which really brought us together further and the energies in the room – already palpable by that point – continued to swell. After being lead in a call and response piece by Lezley and some more chanting, soon enough it was time for Hekate to be called upon to use Amelia to communicate an oracle to all present. This was a truly superb experience – being only my third of a trance-oracle priestess. Four of the attending priestess in turn invoked Hekate and with the fourth invocation it was like a bolt of lightning descended in the room – and into Amelia.
Her oracle was so powerful that it shook the very walls! It was a true blessing and very special. Afterwards, Hekate-Amelia was asked to bless food and wine and tiny oracle scrolls for the attendees. Then, in turn, everyone came to share in the food and drink and to take their scroll. With the ritual wrapped up, there was some time for unwinding, socialising, drinking and of course tidying away. A long but highly positive and eventful day indeed!
The following day, anyone still in Glastonbury who wished to attend were invited to private land owned by Sorita’s partner Lokabandhu Lokabee, right up by the Tor, for a picnic and ritual. The glorious sunshine (Thracian sun – bottled and brought by the generous Georgi Mischev!) welcomed those of us in attendance as we met at the White Springs and then climbed up the hill towards the Tor and the field. We sat and talked, laughed, shared, explored and then carried out a simple impromptu ritual. Lighting a fire, we burnt the offerings that had been placed on the shrine the previous day whilst being led in a powerful chant by Orreyelle! Hekate obviously couldn’t wait for Her grapes and rose as the flames leapt out to great me, singing the hairs up my arm, lol!
Once we had finished, we gathered our belongings and prepared to head down again. I left some flowers at the three-way crossroads that was just outside the entrance to the field. We then all went into the White Springs, which is where in 2012 the Symposium was lucky enough to hold the Rite of Her Sacred Fires inside. I enjoyed being back in there…I like the primal and cooling nature. Again the watery/oceanic aspect of Hekate was present and the cooling water lapped at my feet.
Overall it was a beautiful and meaningful weekend! I was so glad to be back in Glastonbury, as well as surrounded with my fellow brothers and sisters of Hekate. HUGE thanks to everyone involved for their effort, hard work, devotion and friendship and Super-Special thanks to Sorita and Georgi! I look forward to 2014 – the Third Annual Hekate Symposium should be something very special indeed, I’m sure!!
I returned home to Coventry with many fond memories, new friendships forged and some beautiful purchases and gifts.